Japanese Cheesecake

This Jiggly, Soufflé-Like Cheesecake Is Nothing Like Its New York Counterpart

Fluffy Japanese cheesecake dusted with confectioners' sugar

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
290 Calories
17g Fat
26g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 290
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 9g 44%
Cholesterol 234mg 78%
Sodium 182mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 9%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 17g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 61mg 5%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 142mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Japanese cheesecake, also known as Japanese cotton cake, soufflé cheesecake, or jiggly cake, is a bouncy and light confection with similar ingredients to regular cheesecake, but with a lighter and fluffier texture.

How Is Japanese Cheesecake Different?

Japanese cheesecake differs from American or New York Style cheesecake in a few big ways. The main difference is that this Japanese Jiggly cheesecake has no crust and the egg whites are first beaten to soft peaks before being incorporated into the final batter, yielding a puffy and less dense final product. Airy, yet surprisingly sturdy, this sweet import has become a home baker hit. Impressive on its own, the jiggly cake needs no bells or whistles to earn new fans. A quick dust with powdered sugar is all you need to present this beautiful dessert.

Japanese jiggly cheesecake also tends to be less sweet than a regular cheesecake. It can easily be personalized with a dash of your favorite liqueur, or served with varied fruit compotes, chocolate shavings, or fresh berries.

Tips for Making the Best Japanese Cheesecake

When making Japanese cheesecake, there are a few tips you need to keep in mind to make this recipe successful every time.

  • Let the eggs come to room temperature—whites and yolks separated—before you start.
  • Having at hand a springform pan to easily unmold the cake. Also, be sure to wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan tightly with foil to ensure that no water leaks into the cheesecake as it bakes in the water bath.
  • For best results, it's important to bake this cheesecake at the correct temperature. Home ovens are often inaccurate and can be off by 25 to even 50 degrees. An oven thermometer, placed in the middle of your oven, will tell you how accurate your oven is and whether you need to raise or lower the heat to reach the target baking temperature.
  • To ensure minimal to no cracking of the cheesecake, bake your cheesecake in the water bath and then be sure to follow the instructions post-bake: leaving the cheesecake in the turned-off oven with the door closed, followed by a brief stint in the oven with the door slightly ajar. Cracks form in cheesecake due primarily to a sudden temperature change, which is why removing the cheesecake from the hot oven directly onto the counter is a near guarantee for cracks.
  • If it does crack, don't panic! A dusting of powdered sugar or scattering of berries over top will cover up any imperfections.

Egg White Whipping Tips

  • Room temperature egg whites will whip much better and develop more volume.
  • When separating egg whites from yolks, make sure there is no trace of yolk in the whites, as this could prevent the whites from foaming properly. (It's easier to separate eggs while they're still cold.)
  • When making the meringue, use a clean bowl with no traces of fat or oil. Just to be sure, you can wipe the inside of the bowl with white vinegar.
  • Don't add the sugar too quickly to the egg whites, as this could deflate the meringue.

Other Types of Cheesecakes In Japan

This soufflé cheesecake has gained a lot of traction abroad and has become something of the calling-card when people outside of Japan think about what qualifies as "Japanese cheesecake." However, there are two other types of cheesecake you can find widely in Japan as well.

  • Rare Cheesecake: Japan's answer to the no-bake cheesecake, cream cheese is mixed with either heavy cream or yogurt and made firm with the use of gelatin. This eggless cheesecake is often served with fresh berries.
  • Baked Cheesecake: An oven baked confection that more closely resembles NY Style Cheesecake, either with or without crust.

Click Play to See This Light Japanese Cheesecake Come Together

"Great for brunch. So light and fluffy! Meringues can be tricky, so go slow and follow the directions closely, but otherwise a pretty straightforward recipe." —Renae Wilson

Japanese Cheesecake Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Cream Cheese Batter:

  • 2 1/2 ounces (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese

  • 6 tablespoons milk

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 6 large egg yolks

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

For the Meringue:

  • 6 large egg whites

  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

For the Garnish:

  • 6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Steps to Make It

Make the Cream Cheese Batter

  1. Gather the batter ingredients.

    Ingredients for cream cheese batter recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Using 1 tablespoon of butter, generously grease a 8-inch springform cake pan.

    Generously greased springform pan

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Tightly wrap the outside bottom and up the sides of the pan with 2 to 3 sheets of aluminum foil to prevent water from leaking into the pan during baking. Set aside.

    Bottom and sides of greased springform pan wrapped with aluminum foil

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Combine the remaining butter with the cream cheese and milk in a metal or glass bowl. Place bowl over the sauce pan with the boiling water, creating a double boiler.  Slowly soften the ingredients over simmering water until melted, about 5 minutes. 

    Butter, cream cheese, and milk mixture in a double boiler

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Transfer the batter to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk lightly on medium speed to make sure there are no lumps. Alternatively, use a hand mixer.

    Smooth batter being beaten with a hand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. In a separate bowl, sift the flour with the cornstarch.

    Flour sifted with cornstarch in a large bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  7. Gradually add the flour and cornstarch mixture into the cream cheese batter. Whisk until incorporated. 

    Flour mixture being stirred into cream cheese batter with a wire whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  8. Add the egg yolks and sugar into the batter and whisk until smooth.

    Eggs being stirred into the batter with a wire whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  9. Add the salt and lemon juice and lightly whisk to mix together. Set aside while you prepare the meringue.

    Smooth thick batter being stirred with a wire whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Make the Meringue

  1. Gather the meringue ingredients.

    Ingredients for meringue recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. In a very clean and dry bowl, whip the egg whites on medium speed using a stand or hand mixer until the egg whites are starting to turn opaque; don't beat them at high speed.

    Foamy egg whites being beaten in a large bowl with a hand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Once opaque, add the cream of tartar all at once and continue mixing. The meringue will start to turn bright white and glossy.

    Thick light-colored egg white mixture beaten with a hand mixer in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Gradually add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time. whisking well until thoroughly mixed. The meringue will soon be thick, firm, and shiny. When you lift the beaters from the mixture, it should stand in firm peaks.

    Glossy meringue mixture standing in stiff peaks

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Using a large spoon, add 1/3 of the meringue to the cream cheese batter and mix quickly to loosen the mixture. Add another 1/3 and use the spoon to gently fold in the meringue, preserving as much air as possible in the batter. Repeat with the remaining meringue to form a light, airy cake batter.

    Meringue mixture being folded into cream cheese batter with a spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Bake the Cheesecake

  1. Boil 8 cups of water in a kettle or medium pan.

    Simmering water in a large pot

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Slowly pour the batter into the prepared pan and gently level the batter with the back of a spoon or with an offset spatula. Carefully lift up the cake pan about 6 inches from the work surface and drop it back down to release any trapped air bubbles.

    Cake batter poured into cake pan wrapped in aluminum foil

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Place a deep roasting pan onto the middle rack of the preheated oven, put the cake pan in the center of the roasting pan, and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan so it reaches halfway up the cake pan. The bain-marie will help to gently cook the cake.

    Cheesecake in springform pan placed in a baking pan with water

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven, with the door closed, for an additional 45 minutes. Open the oven door and leave the cake inside for 15 minutes to gently lower the temperature of the cake and prevent it from collapsing.

    Golden brown Japanese cheesecake with crinkled top

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Take the cheesecake out of the oven, place it on a cooling rack, and leave it to cool completely.

    Cheesecake in baking pan on a cooling rack

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Once the cake is cool, unmold and serve dusted with the powdered sugar.

    Japanese cheesecake topped with confectioners' sugar

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

How to Store

The cheesecake can be placed in an airtight container and will keep for 48 hours in the refrigerator.